+44 (0) 121 582 0192 [email protected]

Introduction to the Issue

Ransomware has rapidly evolved into a significant digital threat, crippling organizations with devastating effects. The dilemma facing governments globally is whether to legislate against the payment of ransoms, which directly fund these criminal activities.


Upcoming Public Consultation

According to The Record, the UK Government plans to consult the public on introducing mandatory reporting for ransomware attacks. This consultation is expected to start next month, although the recent announcement of a general election on July 4, 2024, may influence the timeline.


Insights from the McPartland Review

The McPartland Review of Cyber Security and Economic Growth, published on May 28, 2024, proposes stricter regulations on ransom payments. These include increased reporting obligations and potential market-driven incentives for organizations that refuse to pay ransoms, like lower insurance premiums.


Legal Landscape and Proposed Changes

Currently, the direct act of paying a ransom is not illegal in the UK, but associated factors such as terrorist financing or sanctions violations can make it unlawful. The new proposals suggest requiring a license for ransom payments and possibly banning such payments entirely for critical infrastructure sectors.


The Case for Mandatory Reporting

The proposed mandatory reporting regime aims to provide a comprehensive view of the ransomware threat landscape in the UK. With 2023 marking a record year for ransomware reports to the ICO, such data is vital for developing effective countermeasures.


The Debate Over a Ransom Payment Ban

Advocates for banning ransom payments argue that it would cut off the financial incentive for cybercriminals, potentially reducing the prevalence of ransomware attacks. Critics, however, worry about the practical and unintended consequences of such a ban, suggesting it could drive victims toward riskier or illegal solutions.


Political Implications

The timing of these proposals coincides with the UK’s political calendar. The general election may delay or modify the consultation process and subsequent legislative actions. However, the consultation will still provide a window into the government’s priorities and potential policy directions.



The UK’s consideration of mandatory ransomware incident reporting and a ban on ransom payments represents a proactive approach to an escalating cyber threat. The upcoming consultation will be crucial in shaping the legislative response to this complex issue.